SAD NEWS: 2 key players depart Port Adelaide Just Now…….

Busy bye the ideal refresher as Henry, Saints, set sights to Power

A refreshed Liam Henry is ready to take on Port Adelaide to kick off St Kilda’s post-bye run, expecting the Power to come out firing after an eventful week.

From Brisbane, straight over to Perth for two days, up to Broome for another couple, running footy training sessions at Cable Beach and visiting his grandparents in Fitzroy to run another footy clinic, Liam Henry has managed to cram an awful lot into the bye week just gone.

But the Saints’ speedy recruit is ready and raring to go for St Kilda’s second half of the season kicking off this Sunday against Port Adelaide, using the week off to reconnect with family and Country to mentally refresh despite the jam-packed schedule.

Henry hopes the time off has benefitted both himself and the wider squad in anticipation of this week’s contest against Port Adelaide, however this week’s headlines around the Power following their 79-point loss to Brisbane won’t be a factor in the Saints’ approach.

“Obviously with how we’ve started and falling short with our results… to get that mental break and get out and just do what I needed to do to just refresh and be ready for the second half of the season I think is really important,” Henry said.

“I’m not really in the footy world (away from my time at the club). All my socials have a bit of golf and the rest of it, so I just try to get out of the four walls.

“(Port Adelaide) are a very good team, they have been for a long time under Ken (Hinkley). They’ve got a really good list and they’re looking to bounce back, but we respect every opposition and just trying to concentrate on our footy.

“I expect them to come out firing and we’ve just got to match it.”

Henry is only eight games into his time as a Saint after sustaining a high-grade hamstring strain in Round 2 which sidelined him for seven weeks, but has shown in recent weeks his increasing flair which has furthered his side’s in-game pushes.

The No. 23 was used higher up the ground and was rolled through centre bounces during the Saints’ most recent clash against Brisbane to better utilise his natural attacking game-style; a key factor in his decision to trade out his Fremantle threads for St Kilda ones during last year’s trade period.

“I really enjoyed my time at Freo and they’re doing really good at the moment, which is good for them. They’ve got a really good young team, but for me… I’ve always wanted to play in Melbourne and live in that lifestyle. That second round (against Collingwood) playing in front of 70,000 people at the ‘G is a dream come true.

“The difference for me was just my mental state. As you see on the oval I can play with a lot of freedom, running and using my strength just to be able to break the game. Ross (Lyon) is really into me about continuing to play how I want to play but towards the system that he brings.

“I love that freedom and being up forward, being more of an attacking player. On the wing you can get really lonely just running up and down and being controlled on that side of things, but with the running patterns I’m doing I’m just trying to get to as many contests as I can.

“I did play some good footy there (on the wing for Fremantle), but hitting the scoreboard this year is a real difference between my game and being more attacking. My disposals have been more efficient being involved with a lot of score involvements and being up at that front half of the footy to use my smarts and decision-making to try and connect inside-50.”

Henry’s drive and creativity forward of centre will be a critical factor as St Kilda hunts for its sixth win of the season, with a four-quarter effort and hot start essential if the Saints are to oust Port Adelaide for the first time since 2020. 

Rarer still are the contests between the two sides at Marvel Stadium, which has occurred only four times in the past 15 years.

“For a few results that we let slip, we’ve been really adamant on how we want to play footy, and unfortunately we haven’t been delivering that for four quarters,” Henry said.

“When you play against another good team that plays four quarters of footy, we lose games and that’s what’s been happening. That’s what we did in Brisbane: we lapsed for one quarter and they kicked seven goals… and that’s the game right there and we lost by 20 points.“The start of our games and our first quarters are really important. The percentage of games that are won are in the first quarter (is high), so we need to start well. We know our running ability and our fitness will hold up in the fourth quarter… we’re really good at fighting and going to the end, but we need to start well and go on with that.”

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